Educational Planning: Managing Your Time

By Peculiar Ediomo-Abasi

“TODAY WAS GREAT! I hope to study more tomorrow, rehearse my musical notes extensively and maybe practice my drama line. Oh no! But I have to visit my friend and I just can’t miss my favorite TV programme. Oops! My collection of movies is surely not left out. Goodness me! How could I have forgotten my school assignment?

Well, I would get to do it tomorrow. There is hardly ever enough time to do everything one wants to do. How I wish a few more hours could be added to a day; it would really favor me more”.

Similar thoughts run through many minds every day with all having the same wish for more hours to a day. We all have dreams, aspirations, set goals and the rest of these which have a bearing on our time. What we do at every point in time affects our outcome in long run. We crave to accomplish so much but find a great deal of difficulty in managing our time.

Time management begins from the scratch of preparing a “To Do List”.  This would take between five to ten minutes to be completed. It could be better written in the evening for the next day and it could be done on a paper or on a computer depending on which you deem fit


Preparing the list in an ABC-rating of your priorities is quite necessary. The most important and very urgent task that must be done that day should be marked “A” on your “to do list”. The less urgent but still important task that should be done right after the “A’s” could be tagged “B” followed by “C” which are “nice to do things” that you could do it u have any time left. Anything else could be shifted to another day.

During a day, new unplanned tasks could come up. Include the tasks on your list and rate them by priority. Trying to attend to more than one at a time would not make sense; make it one at a time.

Time is the only resource that we all have equally and it cannot be store until we have a plan for it. Once used, it is gone forever. If not utilized, it becomes a pathetic loss. Time management is actually the efficient use of our resources in such a way that we are effective in achieving important personal goals within the available time.

Despite the fact that a “to do list” as ben drawn, carrying out what’s on the list efficiently most time poses a problem. We sometimes seem not able to fulfil our expectations ourselves; rather we feel we are muddling through life.

Taking note of the following will help us out of this fix:

A. Goal Setting

A Goal is a thing a person works to accomplish. It is also described as a proposed achievement or accomplishment towards which efforts are directed. Life is a sequence of big and small choices and decisions. This breaks our set goals into short-terms and long-terms.

  1. Short term goals: These are goals someone sets to accomplish in a short period of time such as 1 week, 2 weeks, and 1 month.
  2. Long term goals: These are goals meant to be accomplished over a long period of time, e.g. 6 months, several years, or over a life time.

A goal is good when it is “SMART”. See the “SMART” principle below:

 The “SMART” Principle

S – Specific: Know exactly what you want to achieve.

M – Measurable: Progress made towards the set goal must be measurable

A – Achievable: Be sure the goal is something you have the ability to accomplish

– Realistic: Be sure the goal is something you can do within the desired time frame

– Time bound: Set the time limits.

When our set goals are achieved, it increases our self- esteem, develops our self- confidence and these make us happy and fulfilled. Most importantly, it motivates us to set further goals and accomplish other tasks. This fulfilment can be fully attained and maintained if we take note of the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving our goals.

B. Taking Cognizance of the Obstacles to Achieving our Goals:

Inability to identify the importance of our goals, low self-esteem, lack of resources, peer pressure, setting unrealistic and immeasurable goals, lack of information, changes in ones life circumstances etc. These are a whole lot of obstacles but the most common are procrastination and interruptions.


Can you count the number of times you have had to put off an important task till later, cooking up excuses that are always as good as another? Does an approaching deadline mean a crisis to you? Do you keep hesitating each time you make  decision? If you often find yourself in low productivity situations, then there is a big chance that your life is under the control of procrastinating habit.

Procrastination is basically defined as putting as the putting off the things that you should be doing now till later. Imagine having planned solving some mathematical questions by 8.45 am and when the hour arrives, you don’t feel quite ready. You feel you should have a cup of coffee first “that would ginger me”, you tell yourself. When you are done with the coffee, another excuse and then another until you end up never doing the task. One who is good at making excuse seldom achieves anything.

Eliminating Procrastination

  • Analyze what you frequently procrastinate about- Recognizing what you procrastinate about will give you a signal to begin applying solutions.
  • Note your common “delay tactics”- what kind of excuses do you look for to put off that tough or unpleasant task.
  • Experiment with some solutions that will work for you- start with an easy enjoyable task. Get prepared for the tough task by getting all information available, ensure that you pick a time when you are rested and energetic. Block out distractions.


While we are up on a task, we often receive interruptions from friends, family members, drop- by visitors, telephone calls or even the problem of TV addiction. To overcome the habit of excessive TV viewing, keep track of what shows you watch and how much time you spend each day in front of the tube. Determine in advance what shows you would watch and turn on the TV only for those shows (When a television is place in an inconvenient location, there is less temptation to turn it on).

If people have become accustomed to barging in during your working time, it will have to take some firmness on your part to change the situation. There are times when we must say “no”. You don’t have to say it nastily. Say it gracefully; give the person an option but later.

As you manage your time, there is every need to ask yourself if what you are doing is advancing your important goals. You need to rate progress. How fast are you progressing? Are you really managing your time? What are your challenges and possible solutions to get you on course? This is where evaluation comes in.


You can create a self- assessment form for yourself rating your progress in terms of how much you have overcome the obstacles to an effective and efficient use of your time.

Did you:

  • Exceed the time you had set to do a particular task?
  • Carry over a task of one day to another without any genuine reason?
  • Carefully analyze and plan tasks to be done?
  • Start your day without creating your “To Do List”?
  • Obey the SMART principle?
  • List your task according to their priorities, etc.?

If you are not satisfied with your answers, reread to the guide above and then repeat the evaluation process.



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